ON AUGUST 8, 2017, VOTERS ARE REQUESTED TO VOTE ON REPLACING KEY FACILITIES
CITY COUNCIL CALLS SPECIAL ELECTION
After setting a goal for 2016-17 of developing a plan to address long-standing deficiencies in the City’s Public Safety and Services buildings currently located on Maumee Avenue, the City Council unanimously voted on May 8 to seek voter approval of major building improvements. On the August 8 ballot, City of Grosse Pointe residents will be asked whether to support the issuance of up to $12.96 million in bonds to replace Public Safety and Services facilities. If approved, the City would be able to build a critically needed new headquarters for the Police and Fire Department, address building safety and inadequate conditions in the Public Services building, and make basic repairs and renovations to repurpose the existing Public Safety building on Maumee Avenue.
WHAT WOULD THE BONDS FUND?
The bond total is based on the following estimated project costs:
$7.5 million – Purchase and construction of a new Public Safety building at the corner of Mack and St. Clair (a site comprising the current location of Alger’s Deli, adjacent lot and house)
$4.725 million – Purchase, renovation and reconstruction of an existing warehouse located at 4849 Canyon as a Public Services building (currently owned and used for medical records storage by St. John Hospital)
$500,000 – Repair and renovation of the existing Public Safety building at 17145 Maumee to relocate Court offices there, expand on-site parking and records storage, and potentially create a public Community Space from the old Fire station bays.
$240,000 – Bond Issuance costs
EXISTING BUILDINGS CONDITIONS
Existing fire station bays: Steel ceiling beams can't be raised to fit replacement for nearly three decade old yellow pumper
Existing fire bay: Too tight to maintain and store equipment
Police station: Ceiling damage from multiple leaks in 1928 building despite many repairs
The booking area, detention cell, and interrogation room for suspects all share space with or access to the regular desktop workspace for police officers (shown below), putting safety at risk.
Existing public works yard: Uncovered vehicle storage with poor and unsafe maneuverability
Insufficient storage space with nowhere to preserve road salt or purchase supplies in bulk
Rust is evident on the rear of the truck that is exposed (below).
Employee lockers are in the lunch room, where there is a door to a single unisex bathroom stall and which also opens up to the vehicle maintenance bay. There is no ventilation or windows. There is no locker room to clean up after working with garbage or in a sewer pit, and no space for safety training.
PROPOSED PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING AT MACK & ST. CLAIR
CREATING A VISIBLE PUBLIC SAFETY PRESENCE ON MACK
By constructing a new police and fire facility on Mack Avenue, the City’s important public safety mission will increase its visibility at the entrance to the community. On a major thoroughfare, the new location will enhance mutual aid response. Plus, this major public investment will buttress and support the Mack Avenue business district and neighborhoods.
Space needs studies conducted by outside experts hired in 2009 and also this year both confirm that the existing facility on Maumee is too small and obsolete. Built in 1928, the old building provides less than half the size needed for the Public Safety Department to properly function. The fire bays are too small, and cannot be retrofitted to even house a needed new fire engine. There is no full shift size training room or fire training tower.
From a policing perspective, the evidence room is not up to standards size-wise or security-wise. Locker rooms are so cramped that officers’ uniforms and equipment don’t even fit into a single locker. Even after multiple renovations, original code-deficient electric and plumbing fixtures remain. Multiple HVAC systems are expensive to operate and maintain. A new facility would enable the best possible fire and police protection.
PROPOSED PUBLIC SERVICES BUILDING AT 4849 CANYON
WAREHOUSE RENOVATION REDUCES PUBLIC SERVICES COSTS
Located in a commercial area on Canyon just off Mack behind the Village Hardware, this former tennis house now serving as a warehouse for St. John Hospital is proposed to be retrofitted for City use. As a fully self-contained facility, it would house the public works equipment, parts and materials that are now stored outside and scattered at sites around the City, and provide maintenance, project work areas, and training space. It is a nearly perfect match for the City’s needs, as it has a wide span floor area for indoor vehicle storage, and offices and locker rooms that would simply require renovations. It is accessed entirely by commercial alley via Mack Ave. near Fisher Road. And even including property acquisition costs, the estimated price tag at the new location is less than rebuilding on Maumee — in the middle of residential neighborhoods.
The existing building on Maumee Avenue, more than 50 years old, has only 5000 sq. ft. where 30,000 sq.ft. of space is required. Added space would allow for less expensive, bulk deliveries of dirt, salt, spare replacement water and sewer pipes and valves, and would expedite more efficient service responses. Indoor parking would prevent premature aging of expensive salt and garbage trucks. Built at a time when trucks were smaller with less axles, and material storage requirements were less stringent, the current Maumee facility does not comply with current facility or worker safety standards.
Public Safety & Public Services Facilities Concept Design Study - PowerPoint presentation - May 8, 2017
Public Safety and Services Bond Fact Sheet
City Press Release - June 9, 2017 - “Public Safety and Services Bond Information Meetings Scheduled”
Michigan Supreme Court Evaluation of Municipal Court Building Safety
The City Council of the City of Grosse Pointe approved the following language to appear on the ballot at a special election to be held on Tuesday, August 8, 2017:
Public Safety and Public Services Facilities Bond Proposal
Shall the City of Grosse Pointe, County of Wayne, Michigan, borrow the principal sum of not to exceed Twelve Million Nine Hundred Sixty Thousand Dollars ($12,960,000), and issue its unlimited tax general obligation bonds, in one or more series, payable in not to exceed twenty-three (23) years from the date of issue, to pay the cost of acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, furnishing and equipping a public safety building to house the police and fire departments and a public services building, and for repairs and renovation of the existing public safety building for municipal court offices and other City purposes, including all necessary demolition, site acquisition, site improvements and related infrastructure improvements? The estimated millage to be levied in 2018 is 1.7180 mills ($1.72 per $1,000 of taxable value) and the estimated simple average annual millage rate required to retire the bonds is 2.3479 mills ($2.35 per $1,000 of taxable value).
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
The estimated 1.7 added mills estimated to be required to repay the bond equates to a property tax increase of approximately 3.25 percent to pay for the improvements. The current tax bill for a resident of Grosse Pointe in 2016-17, including all governmental bodies was 52.2 mills, (of which less than a third is attributable to City operations). The estimated cost to a Grosse Pointe resident with a median house value of $250,000 (and a taxable value of $125,000) would be $212.50 annually. To calculate the annual tax, take the Taxable Value of your property (not State Equalized Value) and multiply it by .0017. Unlike State Equalized Value which is intended to reflect half the market value, Taxable Value can only increase by the rate of inflation determined by the State as long as you own the property. You may look up your taxable value online at the City’s website under Finance Department’s Tax and Assessing information and search for your address. Or if you need help, please contact the Finance Department at 885-5800.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Is the City required to issue the full amount of the bonds? No. If the prices of the facilities’ upgrades are less than the estimates or if the project scope changes, bonds would only be issued for the amount needed. However, the amount of the bond cannot exceed the $12.96 million or purposes in the ballot language.
What is the impact on my tax bill? The total tax bill for a resident of Grosse Pointe in 2016-17 including all governmental bodies was 52.2 mills. The estimated 1.7 added mills equates to a property tax increase of 3.25 percent. The current City components of the tax bill add up to 16.7 mills, or less than a third of your total tax bill. The estimated cost to a Grosse Pointe resident with the median house value of $250,000 (and a taxable value of $125,000) would be $212.50 annually.
How did you arrive at an estimate of an added 1.7 mills annually? Given the current tax base of the City, that is the estimated net amount of mills it would take to pay back a $12.96 million bond over 23 years. The estimate conservatively assumes a 4% interest rate, and a 1.5% increase in the tax base per year. If the cost of the projects end up being less, or other funds are allocated in the future to abate the millage, only the millage amount needed to pay off the bonds would be levied. Note that the Neff Park Pool Bond will be paid off in three years, offsetting the projected average millage rate of 2.3479 referenced
Click Here for Additional Questions and Answers
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
If you would like more information about the proposed Public Safety and Services bond, the City will hold several informational sessions: Tuesday, June 20, at 7:00 p.m., Saturday June 24, at 10:30 a.m., and Tuesday, June 27 at 7:00 p.m. City officials will make an educational presentation and answer questions and lead a tour of both facilities, starting at the Public Services building in the back of 17145 Maumee. If you cannot attend the meetings, please feel free to contact any of your elected officials or the City Manager for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 885-5800. Answers to additional commonly asked questions that may be received will be posted online. City officials are also available to attend neighborhood association or homeowners’ group meetings as well as service organizations or other community groups to share information about this proposal.